Looking for your next read? Check out The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris, reviewed by Fulco Library staff, Ellen B.
Nathan Harris has written a quietly rebellious novel set after Emancipation has occurred. Isabelle and George, white Southern property owners, live outside the town of Old Ox. They are devastated to learn of the death of their only child, Caleb, in the war. They both grieve and withdraw in their own way. George is not a young man, yet begins a new crop on his land - peanuts. He invites two freedmen, Prentiss and Landry who are brothers, to work the land with him and share in its profits. Most of the people in Old Ox dislike the idea.
There is a forbidden love in the story and more adventure by way of a murder that occurs. The novel reveals at every turn a fresh narrative that may have occurred in this time period, but seems unlikely. As precarious a time as it was, the author imagines an isolated joining of forces that benefit all. As unlikely as it is, I found it to be hopeful.
The water in the title and its sweetness run throughout the novel: Landry, while still a slave, is enthralled with a fountain on his master's property and pays dearly for enjoying it. August and Caleb meet secretly at a pond. George will only take water as sustenance after he is injured and the same water sustains his precious new peanut crop. The final dream that his wife Isabelle has it to honor Landry with a new source of water on their property. As a debut novelist, Harris has great potential to write many more stories that will transport us all to places where those from different backgrounds can work together and build lives together without prejudice.
Check out The Sweetness of Water on Libby, or from your branch's shelves with your library card today!
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This post is for educational purposes and the contents are not endorsed by the Fulton County Library System or Fulton County Government.